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John Bone takes an irreverent look at Newmarket's week




To the many victims of his lawless life, Phillip Emery can now add an entirely new category: his fellow criminals.

Best known in Newmarket for a rooftop stand-off with police before he was jailed for three years 13 months ago, this blue-eyed bounder had done time for blackmail, affray, theft and criminal damage.

This time he was let out early on licence. Someone in the prison service trusted him. He promptly disappeared.

John Bone, the columnist who gets Newmarket talking.
John Bone, the columnist who gets Newmarket talking.

So his list of victims now includes those countless prisoners in whom some trust might realistically be placed but, thanks to men like Emery, most sit in their cells and waste a bit more of their damaged lives.

What wonderful justification for the ‘lock ’em up and throw away the key’ school of thinking.

Those of us who believe in redemption despite people like Emery can only weep for the wives waiting with children for an offender to come home.

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It is preposterous that Suffolk Police who, like their colleagues in other counties, have long taken some pride in applying the law without grabbing a gun, have had to go armed to Red Lodge.

There they faced a situation on a travellers’ site in which two teenagers had been shot and another injured in her flight. We must leave the courts and lawyers to sort out why this happened but it is a step back in civilization if police have recourse to firearms in the Suffolk countryside.

But it is little use beating our breasts in despair if we fail to find a long-term solution to an increasingly intolerable nuisance in our community.

There has to be a reasonable, enlightened, enduring policy acceptable to all. Search me what it is.

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The allotment system is one of the many glories of English life, feeding stomachs and souls through wars and peace and through troubled times like ours.

So we must pray for the sake of the good people living at Studlands Park that the new public use for the old BMX track is garden plots for food and flowers. Mayor Jefferys has this in mind. We can only hope he digs for victory.

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For the first time in my experience I have noticed a new and nasty sort of crime creeping into our court reports. A young Mildenhall man was fined for texting a man with the aim of causing distress or anxiety. He was also told not to contact three other people.

In a way this is nothing new. Poison pen letters used to be a popular pastime with vicious old maids, in Agatha Christie country, anyway. But modern so-called social networks make it easier for all of us to be beastly.

Clever culprits can hide in electronic systems while firing evil barbs at anyone. It is only fear of discovery and retribution that will make them think twice before using words to wreck lives. Another job for our police as if they were not busy enough.

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Unlike the pusillanimous planners at West Suffolk Council, Newmarket town councillors are stoutly defying an international corporation who want to put a blot on our townscape.

Undeterred by the weak policies of West Suffolk, the town team are refusing to back down in the battle with McDonald’s and its wish to install lighting and advertising signs at its new eaterie (God how I hate that word but it fits well here) on Willie Snaith Road.

My fear is that if they let this one through it will be hard to stop similar signs everywhere. Anyone who has visited small-town America will know what that looks like. Keep this ugliness out of Newmarket.

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In his Journal column on matters of education, Tim Coulson has pointed out how the tribulations of Covid have brought a few enduring benefits to schools.Parents better understand their children’s work and that of the teachers. And teachers have developed new skills.

Away from schools, we are beginning to see other positive results from lockdown. I believe communities are stronger. A mutual protective helpfulness has grown. I now know and chat with people a few doors down who I scarcely nodded to before it all began. These are small signs of what I hope will be seen historically as a social turning point. Let it not slip from us.

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I’m not surprised Newmarket lorry driver Robert Kwiatkowski (I hope I got all the K’s right, Robert) took the cash rather than the car he won in a national competition.

It was a £100,000 supercharged V8 Jaguar. I have never been more terrified in my life than when I was talked into driving an Aston Martin that could go from zero to the speed of light in a heart-beat. This was not cowardice. It was an enlightened sense of survival.

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